Cablegate: Zeal of Hypocrites

Extremist opposition to Wikileaks by American career politicians may not be entirely out of a stated concern for American national security. A credible argument can be made that, instead, some political self-interest might be involved

The last week has seen hysterical rhetoric out of U.S. media personalities and politicians, as a reaction to Cablegate. The worst excesses have seen calls for extra judicial killings of Wikileaks spokesman Julian Assange ostensibly for reasons of national security, reasons that don't carry much weight given high profile convictions that Cablegate poses no clear threat.

Congressmen Joseph Lieberman (Senate) and Peter King (House of Representatives) did not go this far, but both have suggested rather radical action on the part of the U.S. government. Both politicians have held positions as Chairmen for their respective houses of Congress' Homeland Security Committees. Lieberman's hostility to a free internet is long running and well documented, and it will not have come as a surprise that he takes a hard line.

King's comments however, during a radio interview on WCBS 880 on Sunday 28th Nov, 2010, were more surprising. In the past 10 years, King has become one of the more outspoken anti-terror activists in the US legislature, but the connection between this and a whistleblower organization might have been difficult to see. King eagerly made the connection for us.

I am calling on the Attorney General, and supporting his efforts to fully prosecute Wikileaks' founder, for violating the Espionage Act, and I'm also calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare Wikileaks a foreign terrorist organization. By doing that we will be able to seize their funds, and go after anyone who provides them with any help or contributions or assistance whatsoever. To me they are a clear and present enemy of the United States of America.

King was not content merely equating the publication of already-leaked US government documents with violent politically motivated atrocities responsible for the deaths of countless innocents. He went on to claim that Wikileaks was engaged in activity that was more serious than, presumably, the activity of Al Qaeda and other violent terrorist organizations.

This is worse even then a physical attack on Americans. It's worse than a military attack, because what it has done is, it gives our enemies, and even some of our allies, insight into what our thinking is, what our plans are, meetings we've held. It undermines our strategy. Now, this is absolutely devastating to American diplomacy, and by doing that it puts American lives at risk all over the world.

It may seem alarming that a United States legislator might have so little respect for the victims of genuine terrorist atrocities that he would abuse the word in this manner. Peter King, however, is quite used to demonstrating with his actions a cavalier attitude towards the loss of innocent life at the hands of terrorists. He has historically made a habit of it. Last week, he did this by misapplying the word "terrorism." In the past, however, he did it by refusing to apply the word with any conviction.

Peter King's history of open support for the Provisional IRA (PIRA) is well documented. In a period from the late 1970s until the turn of the century, Peter King famously offered moral support through the means of the Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID) to Republican terrorist operations in the North of Ireland, and was a vocal advocate of the campaign of political violence pursued by the PIRA during its 25 year terror campaign. NORAID itself is documented as having been a front group for directing financial support to the IRA. A New York Sun article by Ed Moloney covers...

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